Sean Hanlon ’80: A Visionary Alumnus Prepares Stevens for Fintech’s Future
The Hanlon Financial Systems Center — named for the generosity of Sean Hanlon ’80 and wife Cathy — is home to two state-of-the-art financial analytics laboratories that place an incredible array of powerful tools in the hands of students and faculty alike.
And the ecosystem that center has nurtured at Stevens has brought finance at Stevens to center stage. Nearly one in five graduates of the Class of 2018 who accepted job offers accepted roles in finance.
“When I joined the board in December of 2010, I said that Stevens was a $25 stock headed to $100,” says Sean Hanlon, the CEO of Hanlon Investment Management. “I’m here to tell you that it has exceeded $100 a share, and if you will permit me the Wall Street metaphor, I’m going to up my target price. Stevens is headed for $500 per share.”
The basic building blocks of a financial education remain important, but technology has changed the way trades are executed, the manner in which assets are valued — even the types of currency available to consumers and investors. To keep pace, the center’s two Hanlon Labs offer a sophisticated technology loadout: two dozen Bloomberg terminals, a broad range of subscription datasets including WRDS and Thomson Reuters, and a Mezzanine collaborative presentation suite that’s unique in higher education.
Students use this technology to do everything from building cryptocurrency exchanges and rethinking wealth management portfolios and strategies to predicting volatility. Faculty use the tools to perform research in cutting-edge topics such as machine learning, high frequency trading and systemic risk, creating impactful research and powering the unique curricular offerings.
As director of the Hanlon Financial Systems Center and the university’s undergraduate quantitative finance program, Professor George Calhoun regularly interacts with decision-makers on Wall Street who are eager to bring their own fintech challenges to Stevens.
“The industry has undergone an upheaval,” explains Calhoun. “The New York Stock Exchange, ten years ago, had 87% market share. Today it’s about 20%, because they fell behind the technology curve. That’s driving the Street to Stevens to find the things we’re good at: quantitative methods, computer science, engineering.”
Sean Hanlon says his work as a member of the Stevens Board of Trustees has provided a closer look at the imaginative work and inventiveness of students and faculty in finance and business analytics.
“Cathy and I truly believe that the students, faculty and researchers — with the benefit of the Stevens problem-solving approach — will make the world a better place,” he has said. “We are honored to have a part in moving Stevens forward and hope this gift brings many more of us together to solve the challenges of the financial services industry.”